Lake Wales residents taking Irma seriously

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Lake Wales was put under a state of emergency on Wednesday. Residents were already concerned about how they would fare from Hurricane Irma.

"Hopefully it will go a little more east and we'll all be saved and everything will work out for the best. But we're prepping for the worst," said Glenna Carver.

They know how devastating a major storm can be. Back in 2004, Lake Wales was hit by three major storms in succession. Aside from knocking Lake Wales to its knees, it was a wake-up call.

Most people believed that the middle of the state was safe. In one terrible season, we all learned that in Florida, no place is immune.

Don Heyward remembers what it was like.

"Roof leaking, flooded, destroyed my furniture," he recalled.

He says it took about a year to have it all repaired and back to normal.

It was a nightmare for Larry Pippin as well.

"It was rough," he told FOX 13. "Tore houses up, tore roofs up where we live. Just tore everything up."

On Wednesday, dozens of people were filling sandbags at Lake Wales Park. Gordon Hoover hires a guy to nail plywood over his windows.

"Even if it goes down to a [Category] 4, and it is 500 miles wide, you better prepare," Hoover said.